Update on Progressive Theo-Blogger Challenge #progGOD

Update on Progressive Theo-Blogger Challenge #progGOD August 13, 2012

Last week, I challenged Progressive Theo-Bloggers to say something substantive about God. I then clarified what I hoped for. Thus far, I’ve been very heartened by the response. I’ve already got 30 posts queued up, and the challenge goes through this Friday (so there’s still time for you to join in!). Patheos will be building a landing page where, next week, we will post links to all of the contribution. (So, there’s some further incentive: If you want a permanent in-bound link from the biggest religion website on the internets, submit something!)

There’s been great commentary on both of the above posts. And a two thoughts that I want to respond to.

1) I’m not saying that God must always be talked about without Jesus. I’m just saying that now, for this challenge, you’ve got to talk about God without falling back on Jesus. It’s all too easy for Christians — both liberal and conservative — to default to Jesus-talk. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I think we also need to work our God-talk muscle, without reverting to Jesus-talk.

2) Yes, evangelicals are listening. Some have left comments basically saying, “It doesn’t matter what we say. Evangelicals won’t listen to us talk about God anyway.” That is patently untrue. Many evangelicals read this blog, and they may read yours, too. They’re listening intently, because they don’t think we’re very good at talking about God. And I can promise you that there are lots of younger Christians who were reared in evangelicalism who are looking for good, credible ways out of conservative culture in which they find themselves.

Please keep the posts coming. You can tweet them under #progGOD, and you can also leave them in the comments on the original post and/or email them to me.

Remember, you don’t have to say everything about God. You’ve just got to say one thing about God.

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  • Brennan Breed

    A hint for you involved in the contest: there are some really helpful liberal/progressive Old Testament scholars who write reams of substantive theological claims about God, sometimes without mentioning Jesus. Pick at random any page of Walter Brueggemann’s gigantic Theology of the Old Testament, or Patrick Miller’s book on the Ten Commandments, or Terence Fretheim’s God and the World in the Old Testament, among many others, and you will find a liberal biblical theologian making substantive claims about God. (Off the cuff, my entry, were I a blogger, would likely be an important theme that all of the above books agree upon: namely, God is relational.)

    • It’s not a contest.

      • Dang, and I thought I had won.

        • Brennan Breed

          Sorry, “challenge,” of course.

  • I just hope someone could answer the created in God’s image thing for me. I need to know if I have his nose or eyes.

  • Just left a note on the original post right on this. As a Christian we can’t talk about God without talking about Jesus. We can, but then we are just speculating and throwing ourselves against the hidden god which always condemns. Only in the revelation of Jesus can we understand God and his love and forgiveness. That is reformation (at least Luther), ancient and scriptural. Isn’t that one of the core problem of progressive Christianity, when pressed on epistemology, there is a certain embarrassment at saying we know because of revelation? Yet that is the only way we know and can say anything substantive about God, only through Jesus.

    • Only a Lutheran would write that. Open your mind, brother.

      • I recognize my Lutheran bias in theology. Therefore, I could only say a couple things about God without saying something about Jesus. Even then I think I failed.

  • Nate

    “And I can promise you that there are lots of younger Christians who were reared in evangelicalism who are looking for good, credible ways out of conservative culture in which they find themselves.”

    Count me in this group.
    Social Justice is nice and important, got anything else?

  • John

    Did you or anyone else that calls themselves a Christian ever meet Jesus up close and personal in a living-breathing-feeling human form, and thereby receive his personal comprehensive instruction as to how to live the Spirit-Breathing Spiritual Way that he taught and demonstrated while he was alive?
    If not I would suggest that you are talking through your self-serving hat or false face.

    Meanwhile of course, if you really do your homework you will find that Jesus was never ever in any sense a Christian. He was an outsider, a radical Spiritual Teacher who appeared and taught on the margins of the tradition of Judaism as it existed in his time and place. While he was alive Jesus taught a radical, universal, non-sectarian, non-Christian Spirit- Breathing Way of Life. Such a Spirit-Breathing method/way has been the essential practice in all forms of esoteric Spiritual Religion in all times and places – and it still is to day.
    Furthermore Jesus did not, and could not have created any of the religion about him – aka Christian-ism. All of which was created after his brutal murder – and mostly long after by people who never ever met Jesus up close and personal.
    Jesus certainly could not have created any of the “death-and-resurrection” dogma that became the center-pole of the Christian system of belief.
    Corpses are incapable of creating anything – havent you noticed!

    Jesus was of course completely unacceptable to the ecclesiastical establishment of his time and place. They thus conspired with the secular Roman authorities to have him executed.
    That having been said, you dont really think that if Jesus happened to reappear in this time and place that he would be in any sense welcome at ANY of the ecclesiastical seats of worldly “religion”-power that exist on this planet in 2012 – includig of course, and most especially the Vatican.
    Would Jesus even be recognized?
    Would Jesus have been welcome or even invited to the installation of that clown who wears the funny hats in Rome some years ago.
    By the way that unspeakably grotesque installation was a celebration of patriarchal worldly POWER. It was even promoted as such by some of the benighted “catholic” propaganda hacks.
    Go back and look at some of the photographs of that grotesque event. All of the heads of state were there, and the generals with their blood-stained bodies, and the captains of industry and commerce too.
    Jesus of course road into town on a donkey – essentially alone and unrecognized. He owned nothing and had nowhere to stay. He was also famous for kicking the money-lenders out of the temple, and for being scathingly critical of the human powers that be/were in his time and place – both the power of the state and the power of the ecclesiastical establishment.

  • After mulling over this challenge for the past week, I finally found some words to put on “paper”.


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  • darn I left my post yesterday. Well I hope you read it at least anyways.

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